Odusanya, 65 and recently retired from the Department of National Defence, is now on the hook for $34,000 from a loan he co-signed and is frustrated by child welfare laws that block his attempts to locate the woman’s two daughters, who also spent time in his home.
He moved from Nigeria to Toronto in 1973, ended up marrying a woman from Nova Scotia and later began living here.
In the summer of 2012 he received a short Facebook message from a Nigerian woman who was in the area and wanted to meet him. He did not respond.
A short time later, he was at a beach picnic put on by the local Nigerian association when he was introduced to the same woman, who spoke of his hometown and some of his relatives.
“How can I explain it?” Odusanya said of the decisions he was to make.
He spoke of coming to Canada with nothing and leaving so many family members and friends behind. Meeting someone who, like him, is of the Yoruba tribe meant a lot.
He later talked with some family members in Nigeria and Texas and pieced together information that seemed to support her story.
“It’s a miracle,” he said of meeting her.
A religious man, he wanted to show his appreciation for all that God gave him.
“How can I say ‘thank you’ to God for his goodness towards me?”
Odusanya said he’s previously opened his door to Africans in need of help.
Because of Canada’s law regarding youths, the woman will be referred to under the pseudonym Mary Amah. Using her real name could identify her children, some of whom eventually came to Canada, moved in with the Odusanyas and later ended up in the care of the Community Services Department.
Amah had been staying with a local religious leader but Odusanya invited her to move in with him and his wife about a week after they met. She claimed to be a medical doctor, widowed with six children. She said she wanted to move to Canada but couldn’t afford the fees involved with obtaining a doctor’s licence.